Facebook was accused of discrimination by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. UU., HUD, due to its ad targeting system.
The department said on Thursday that Facebook allows advertisers to exclude audiences based on their neighborhood by drawing a red line around those sectors on a map and giving them the option to display ads for men only or for women only.
The agency also claims that Facebook allowed advertisers to exclude people that the social media company classified as parents; not born in the United States; unchristian; interested in accessibility; interested in the Hispanic culture or in a wide variety of other interests that are closely aligned with the protected classes of the Housing Law.
HUD indicated that Facebook’s advertising platform is “encouraging, enabling and causes discrimination in housing” because it allows advertisers to exclude people who do not want to see their ads.
HUD’s claim comes less than a week after Facebook said it would review its advertising segmentation systems to avoid discrimination in housing, credit and employment ads as part of a legal agreement with a group that includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Fair Alliance of housing and others.
The technology at the center of the fighting is what has helped turn Facebook into a giant with annual revenues close to $ 56 billion.
It can offer advertisers and groups the ability to accurately send messages to the crowd they want to see. The potential is as impressive as it is potentially destructive.The company faces government investigations in the United States and Europe about its privacy practices. A reorganization, this month, that resulted in the departure of some of Facebook’s top executives generated questions about the company’s direction.
However, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said Thursday that there is little difference between the potential for discrimination in Facebook technology and the discrimination that has taken place over the years.
“Facebook is discriminating against people based on who they are and where they live,” Carson said. “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing options can be as discriminatory as throwing someone’s door in the face.”
Facebook includes white nationalism as hate speech
Facebook will include the promotion and support of white nationalism and separatism in its criteria that prohibit the publication of hate speech.
The company previously allowed such material despite the fact that it has long banned white supremacists. The social network said on Wednesday that it had not previously applied its prohibition to expressions of white nationalism because it linked such expressions with broader concepts of nationalism and separatism, such as American pride or Basque separatism (which are still allowed).
However, civil rights groups and academics said that this was a “wrong” view and they have long pressured the company to change its position. Facebook said that after months of “talks” with them it concluded that white separatism and nationalism can not be significantly distinguished from organized hate groups and white supremacy.
Critics “exposed these issues to the highest levels on Facebook and had a series of work meetings with their staff as we tried to guide them to the right place,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the Ley, a legal advisory group based in Washington.”This is very delayed as the country continues to grapple with the fascination with hatred and the increase in violence by white supremacy,” he added. “We also need the technology sector to do its part to combat these efforts.”
Although Facebook said it had been working on the change for three months, it came less than two weeks after receiving extensive criticism because the man who killed 49 people in two mosques in New Zealand broadcast the massacre live on Facebook.
As part of the change, people looking for terms related to white supremacy will be directed to a group called Life After Hate, which was founded by former extremists who want to help people stop the violence of the extreme right. .
Clarke said the idea that white supremacy is different than white nationalism or white separatism is wrong.
He added that the New Zealand attack was a “powerful reminder of why we need the technology sector to do more to eliminate the behavior and activity of violent white supremacists.”